President's Panel: Troubled Employment Program Can Continue With
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 30, 2006
EL PASO, TEXAS--A nonprofit organization that had been threatened with losing federal contracts for violating labor laws will continue to stay with the program designed to employ workers with disabilities, the El Paso Times reported Tuesday.
Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation found last year that the National Center for Employment of the Disabled, the nation's largest nonprofit to benefit from the 1938 Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act (JWOD) program, had just 7.8 percent of its work performed by employees who are "blind or severely disabled".
The organization was required to have 75 percent of the labor performed by workers with disabilities.
The federal government paid NCED $275 million last year to manufacture such things as chemical warfare protective suits, military uniforms and accessories, and cardboard boxes, under the JWOD program.
The President's Committee for Purchase from People who are Blind and Severely Disabled, which enforces JWOD rules, decided to give the agency some more time to comply with those regulations.
NCED was forced to lay off several hundred workers already this year after losing some contracts.
In a related story, Bob Jones, the former CEO who resigned in March, is being sued by a jet company for allegedly buying an interest in the firm with $1 million that belonged to NCED.
Last October, the U.S. Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee heard testimony that executives of many nonprofits under JWOD contracts were earning salaries well into six figures, at the same time that many workers with disabilities were stuck in sheltered workshops, discouraged from seeking work in the community.
"El Paso charity raided by FBI to keep government contracts" (Associated Press)
"Jet firm sues ex-NCED boss" (El Paso Times)
"Compliance Problems With Federal Contracts Could Mean Layoffs For Thousands" March 26, 2006 (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)